Nov 9, 2016

Fighting White Tr[i]umphalism...

I'm in shock and grieving like so many people across the country and the world who are committed to social justice.  Yet the results of last night's elections are all too believable.   Below I share some of the many eloquent analyses of this outcome, which we hoped would not come upon us.  Of course it was about sexism (and yes women can be sexist if understand it as an ideology that governs us and traps us all), of course it was about race (white supremacy in this case), and of course it was about class (understood as the unequal positions we hold within the social relations of capitalist production).  They intersect at all times, and in the conjuncture of these elections they intersected and lit up over the kindling of race-class-gender divides that undergird this country and have done so since its inception. They do important ideological work (like the seepage of sexism into the very fabric of people's being so much so that they say that the candidacies had nothing to do with sexism).  Yes they undergird other countries, our world -- in unique and interconnected ways.  Last year (Aug 2015) I wrote about the "man's world" in Hollywood here.  It was but a reflection of the realities that are almost everywhere in this country, often just below the surface but often not so very far beneath either.

Our analyses weren't wrong before, and are not wrong now.  I think many saw and tried to show--again and again--what was coming (it's the same with climate change I think. Well, not the same but similar. It will be devastating).  No, our analyses did not fail us and remain necessary.

Nor was it lack of action--at least not in terms of the election.  There was so much mobilization to address the stark divides to prevent us from getting here.  And no, I don't believe that people are "just stupid" (no more than I believe that women are stupid or black people or colonized people or rural peoples are stupid).  What's lacking in all of us in some measure is what my favorite social theorist, Gayatri Spivak, calls "reflexes of democracy" -- those muscle have not been given a workout. What's lacking (amongst other things) is politics of the everyday kind -- politics of connections, of relations, of acknowledging that "race" is a relation, as are gender and class. Unequal relations, and ones that piggyback on each other.  That's why they are so hard to fight.  It's not about equality alone, folks. It's about justice, and the struggles for justice have been given a serious patada (kick).

There is no choice but to struggle, to rise up, to work against violence, fear and hatred, against racism, sexism, capitalism.  These are feminist struggles through and through.  Might "relations" serve as an analytical, political and personal anchor from which to begin thinking and acting?   Might connections help to think about how we find the good in each other and in the world, though it may require digging pretty deep, through layers of pain and hurt, to realize that one cannot be free until others are also?

Some key analyses and calls for action from colleagues in my department:

An Open Letter to Our Nation from 100 Women of Color:

Ai-jen Poo's article from yesterday, "10 Things Progressives Need to Do Now":

Brittney Cooper: